It seems like, as parents, we all want easy answers. We want to know what the best way is to get our babies to sleep without making them sad. We want to know how to potty train them without making them hate the bathroom. We want them to dress modestly, but also express their individuality. Yes, we all want perfection. Which is why it's not surprising that there is currently a conversation on CafeMom about what the "perfect" number of children is for most families.
Sadly, the answer is not that simple. There is no one "perfect" number of kids. And there is really no way of knowing how many kids you can handle and be happy with until you have them. Yeah, yeah. It's so fun.
This is why the idea that having one child is "selfish" is truly so obnoxious. In fact, if you know you can only handle one and only be a good parent to one, then it's about the most UNSELFISH choice you can make. It's the right choice for your kid. In other families, that number could be higher.
As a mom, I am struggling with this question myself right now. We had two in rapid succession. At just 18 months apart, my children have an enviable bond that is one of my most gratifying parts of being a parent.
My kids have each other's backs. They always have. At the playground nobody better mess with either one or they will face the wrath of the other. When we moved 600 miles from our home, they had each other at the end of nerve-wracking days at a new school.
So as we decide on a third (or even a fourth just to round things out), it occurs to me that I will never know whether three (or four) is "perfect" until I try. And then, like all moms, I will have my three (or four) and will love them all so much, I could never say which one I would give away. So that number will be "perfect." In fact, maybe that is the reality. Maybe your "perfect" number of kids is the number you end up with. The end.
Maybe we are all over-thinking this a bit. In the end, the family you end up with is "perfect." There is no sense judging the mother with one child and there is no sense in judging the Duggars, either. We all make our own choices about childbearing, and assuming we can all care for and afford our children, then there is nothing wrong with choosing to have one. Or five. Or 15.
The "perfect" family is the one you make.
Do you think there is a "perfect" number of kids?
Image via lrargerich/Flickr